INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES AND OPENINGS
While the State Government of Meghalaya offer subsidies on cost of infrastructure, transport, training and power, the Central Government exempts all new units from paying income tax for a period of five years from the date of commercial production.
There are a number of potential sectors which have been identified for attracting and strengthening investment in the state of Meghalaya and those can be categorized as Minerals based industry, Horticulture and Agro based Industry, Power, Tourism and Health care.
MINERAL BASED INDUSTRY
Meghalaya with its wealth of mineral deposits has tremendous industrial potential. There are extensive deposits of coal, limestone, granite, clay and many other minerals.
Coal deposits are available in all districts and particularly in the southern slopes of the state. The total estimated reserve of coal in the region is 640 million tones. The coal is mainly of sub-bituminous type and can be utilized in varied industries ranging from power, fertilizer, cement and textile to paper, rubber, brick burning and also pottery based industries. The coal that is found in Meghalaya can also be converted into coke to recover value added chemicals like light, medium and heavy oil, phenol and producer gas.
Limestone is another mineral that occurs in an extensive belt along the Southern boarder of Meghalaya. The quality of limestone there varies from cement grade to chemical grade. Total inferred reserve of limestone within the State is about 5,000 million tones which can be of use in steel, fertilizer and chemical industries.
Granite of excellent quality is at present being mined in the East and West districts of Khasi hills where sizeable deposits are estimated and can be found in various shades and colors.
Clay of various types such as Kaolin (China clay), White clay, and Fire clay are also found in various parts of the states which are suitable for ceramic, paper, rubber and refractory industries. It has been estimated that there are a few hundred million tones of clay reserved in the state of Meghalaya.
Beside the above, other economically viable minerals like gypsum, phosphorite, glass-sand, base metal, quartz and feldspar can be located in various parts of Meghalaya. The State is also attributed with one of the most valuable sillimanite deposits in the world.
HORTICULTURE AND AGRO-BASED INDUSTRIES
The potential for Agro-based industries in the state of Meghalaya is very high. The state produces substantial quantities of oranges, peaches, pineapples, pears, guavas, plums and bananas of superb variety. It also grows plenty of potatoes, tapioca, bay leaves, ginger, maize and jackfruit. Meghalaya's turmeric, particularly the variety that is grown in Shangpung in the Jaintia Hills, is considered the best in the world. Plantation crops like coffee, rubber, black pepper and areca nut are also grown in Meghalaya. A major breakthrough has also been made in tea cultivation and tea gardens have come up in various parts of the State.
One of the areas in which there is tremendous potential for investment and development in Meghalaya is the food processing sector. There is ample scope for setting up a large scale fruit processing unit.
Meghalaya has a high percentage of meat consuming population and the climate is also congenial for animal husbandry like rearing of cattle, pigs, goat and poultry. In fact, in a survey conducted by the North East Council, it is estimated that the meat products consumed in the North East region are alone worth Rs.1000 crores per annum.
Meghalaya is one of the few states in the country with surplus power generation. The industrial units of Meghalaya have the unique privilege of uninterrupted power supply. This state possesses a hydro-electric potential of nearly 1,200 MW and the river basins of Meghalaya have a potential feature of about 2,700 MW of Hydel Power because the state is a major beneficiary of the South West Monsoon. The average annual rainfall is 11,000 mm and all the rivers of Meghalaya are monsoon fed. The Umiam-Umtro basins have only been partly developed during the past forty years. This system has three concrete gravity dams, one weir, six earthing dykes, four reservoirs and a network of tunnels and open channels catering to five existing Power Stations. The State is therefore in the process of identifying agencies that can invest in the development of Meghalaya's considerable hydro power potential. The Investors in Power Sector will find a favorable atmosphere in the State of Meghalaya.
EXPORT PROMOTION INDUSTRIAL PARK (EPIP)
This park is proposed to be set up at Byrnihat, near Shillong which has an area of about 250 acres. The scheme to set up an EPIP has been formulated by the Government of India, Ministry of Commerce and a grant of Rs. 10.00 crores has been approved for the Meghalaya state for this purpose. The objective of this scheme is to encourage the development of exports from this region. . The scheme includes:
- Building infrastructure facilities of high standards.
- Utilizing those facilities for export oriented units.
- Sustaining the interest of the State Government in building and maintaining such facilities.
- But, the scheme requires the State Government to provide infrastructure facilities like power, water, roads, sewage and drainage, telecommunication and many other facilities for the Park.
Meghalaya with its hilly terrain and cool climate demonstrates good potential for development of its tourism industry. And, in consideration that the state is backward, tourism needs to be treated as an industry so that it could in some ways contribute to the economic development of the state. With adventure sports, golf courses, scenic beauty, health resorts and orchids, there are some best tourist attractions in Meghalaya.
Shillong which is the capital of Meghalaya with a population of around 2.2 lakhs, is the focal point of development activities of the state. It is a well-known centre of education in the country and the headquarter of various Armed Forces and Central Government departments. However, the existing health facilities are inadequate in meeting the needs of the patients in the city, not to mention the state as a whole. Therefore, there is immense scope for new and upcoming units in the health sector to develop the health and welfare industry of Meghalaya.